iiNet to blanket Canberra with free Wi-Fi


news National broadband provider iiNet today revealed that it had been selected by the nation’s capital to build Australia’s largest free Wi-Fi network, blanketing 12 business districts across Canberra during the coming year.

In partnership with the ACT Government, iiNet will deploy more than 700 Cisco wireless access points throughout Canberra to create the public wireless network. The network will be free to use by anyone moving through the capital’s busiest commercial centres.

Speaking at the launch in Canberra, iiNet Chief Business Officer, Greg Bader, said that the free public wireless network was a globally significant project. “We believe that free Wi-Fi access is a critical part of the infrastructure of modern cities,” he said.

“Increasingly, cities across the world are building public wireless networks, with the most successful providing simple and free access for anyone. This partnership combines the ACT Government’s enduring vision of a connected Canberra, with iiNet’s proven technical expertise, nationwide broadband network and award-winning service reputation.”

“iiNet has shown its capabilities as Australia’s leading provider of public wireless networks by deploying the AdelaideFree Wi-Fi network during the past nine months. Today, an average of 200,000 different people use AdelaideFree, each month, while, during peak periods, we see as many as 5000 people connected at any one time.”

As part of its partnership, iiNet will deploy more than 300 Cisco outdoor access points in high traffic areas. These access points will be connected to iiNet’s fibre and VDSL2 broadband network, which runs beneath Canberra streets.

iiNet plans to complete the first stage of Canberra’s free public Wi-Fi rollout, centred on Civic, by October this year. Remaining areas, covering the commercial centres of Belconnen, Dickson, Woden, Tuggeranong, Bruce, Manuka-Kingston, Gungahlin, Weston Creek, along with the tourist precincts of Parkes, the foreshore and Commonwealth Park areas, will be finished by June 2015.

iiNet will further extend the public network by installing an additional 400 Cisco access points within businesses across the city, allowing seamless connection inside and out.

One of Canberra’s first businesses to join the public Wi-Fi network is King O’Malley’s Irish Pub, a local institution, located in Garema Place in the heart of Canberra City. King O’Malley’s managing director Peter Barclay said free wireless Internet access would be a boon for his business. “We’re very excited about this initiative because it puts Canberra right at the cutting edge,” he said.

“When I was in the US last year, I found free Wi-Fi everywhere, from galleries to cafes, which made keeping in touch and running my business very easy to do. I think this free Wi-Fi network will make life easy for people checking sites like Facebook and Instagram and doing business generally. It’ll be great for everyone from residents and students to international visitors.

“We’re pleased that it is iiNet providing this service, as we’ve been a happy iiNet customer for years.”

The news comes as the nation’s largest telco Telstra has also recently revealed plans to deploy Wi-Fi infrastructure throughout Australia. The rollout was announced several weeks ago by the telco’s chief executive, David Thodey, and will see the telco invest more than $1 million to increase connectivity in the places Australians live, work and visit, including cafes, shops, sports grounds and transport hubs.


  1. FREE = there is a cost. Is it

    More expensive coffee/beer/food etc
    Access to personal information to gain FREE access

    I live in Brisbane the only decent and non intrusive FREE WiFi I have experienced is –

    My local Apple store
    Brisbane City Council WiFI HotSpots

    The rest is poor and usually involves an agreement to accept Email “NewsLetters” and/or tracking.

    I travel Ozz. My answer is a 3G/4G MiFI unit for my connectivity. There is of course only ONE provider, if you want coverage and performance.

    I believe the end “Canberra Result” will be a overtaxed (SLOW) public WiFi network. Perhaps a demonstration that “wireless” is not the end all and be all, of internet connectivity.

    I look forward to being proven wrong:-(

    • The ACT government were looking at doing free wifi in the cbd also. Might be a public/private partnership

    • The cost is borne by the taxpayer, the ACT Government is providing the service. Terms of use will be 100MB a day, up to 3GB a month and it connects to the VDSL network.

      I don’t disagree with your assessment of current WiFi offerings being next to useless, but these are piecemeal approaches by companies looking to differentiate themselves but who might have no clue how to do it properly.

      I hope this approach will result in something better, it’s going to be good for Canberra.

  2. What miserable comments – “it’s going to fail”, “It’s going to be slow”, “There will be hidden costs”.

    Australia needs more initiatives like this, not less. As for those whinging that Canberra is getting this and they aren’t – This is a territory govt initiative. if you want one in your state, stop voting in conservative governments who think that ‘infrastructure’ is synonymous with bitumen highways!

    The ACT has enjoyed a forward thinking govt for many years. The rest of you are welcome to your narrow-minded, conservative clowns. Vote ’em out and then come join the rest of us in the 21st century.

    • + Infinity

      The way Tall Poppy Syndrome permeates through just about everything in au these days is frankly quite disappointing.

      If your not getting it… then maybe ask yourself what’s the difference between that territory/states pollies and priorities and yours.

  3. “Australia needs more initiatives like this”

    Agree 110%

    GOOGLE….please expand to Oz and build your FTTH network here :)

  4. I’ve never had a single ‘free wifi’ work for me.

    Maccas. Nope.
    ANZ Stadium. Nope.
    Parramatta. Nope.
    Adelaide. Nope.
    Brisbane. Nope.

    It’s just a giant fucking waste of time. I’d rather just use my 3G net and get it done.

    • I’ve had Maccas work, and locally theres a free service provided by either the local council or shopping centre (or both) thats pretty simple to access. Put pretty much any details in so if they are data mining, they get nothing useful.

      Both have always been congested though, so in the end you really cant do much more than check facebook.

    • For the readers out there – let’s not extrapolate one persons experience as absolute truth.

      Both my girlfriend have used the ANZ stadium WiFi 3* times at different matches.

      Does that mean the score is 6 – 2 at the moment? ;)


      p.s – here’s hoping both the serious message AND the Friday humour makes it across….

      * I actually believe it’s four but I can only seem to remember the last three games we attended, so i’ll be conservative.

  5. I think it’s unlikely it will be slow, congested and unusable – iiNet are no strangers to robust network design. It is pretty easy to have these wifi units push data back to a management console so you can see precisely how many clients are connecting and what the demand is like on each of them. Deploying a network like this that suffers from too much demand is actually very positive – it shows the service is usable and valued and adding additional access points to cater to high demand regions is trivial and inexpensive, particularly if you ensure you run plenty of additional ethernet (or have available ports on local routers if you’re going straight into fibre).

    The problem with usual public wifi is precisely as a result of them being deployed by private businesses or local government who are doing it as a gimmick, where they don’t have adequate resources to design or monitor it or scope for continuous upgrades and usually where they require user information to allow access (which they then use for tracking, data collection and mailing lists). iiNet don’t need to be doing any of this and they are an experienced ISP with a remit to deliver a working network, it’s not a bait-and-switch ploy to collect user data.

Comments are closed.